The ranks of successful startups are teeming with businesses that offer a product or service that’s unique to a marketplace. The best niche businesses stem from someone’s passions, interests and background.
Unicyle.com CEO John Drummond relied on his passion to launch a dedicated, commercial Web site that sells multiple unicycle brands and provides quality information about unicycling.
“I was riding a unicycle each day after work, for fitness,” says Drummond, recalling the moment he realized his niche business opportunity. “It became a passion — I couldn’t wait to get home and ride three miles, five miles, eventually 10 miles per day. People in my neighborhood would stop me and ask, ‘Where do you go to get a unicycle?’”
Drummond visited local bike shops and surfed the Internet, and found that no one was really focused on serving unicyclists. Sensing a lack of competition in the field, Drummond became excited about the prospect of starting a business he would be enthusiastic about. He already possessed the skills and aptitude that could make it all work.
About the same time, his employer of 23 years, IBM, introduced a Web hosting service with e-commerce for beginners.
“I told Amy that I wanted to build a Web site to sell unicycles. She said, ‘Okay,’ recalls Drummond. IBM helped him build the site, and eight months later his little part-time business was generating more income than his full-time job.
“My last day on the job was November 1, 1999, but I stayed closely connected to IBM through their Web-hosting business. They helped Amy and I become entrepreneurs.”
Since that time, Unicycle.com expanded to meet the needs of an ever-growing and more technical community of riders worldwide. In addition to its store in Marietta, Georgia, Unicycle.com has shops located in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Sweden and United Kingdom.
“I began riding a unicycle at age 12,” says 55-year-old Drummond, who still rides his unicycle almost every day. “I haven’t lost the passion.”
How to start a Bicycle Shop Business
Opening a bicycle shop requires not only a broad knowledge of different types of bicycles, but you must also be an avid lover of all things related to bicycling – from assembling, maintenance and repair. The key to a successful bike shop is having everything that a customer needs, including bicycle parts and accessories like helmets, clothing and tools.
To be truly successful with a bicycle business, you must carve out a niche for yourself. Big box store and discount retailers all offer bicycles for the average rider, you must cater to a crowd that is not being serviced – such as high-end racing bicycles, or lightweight commuter bicycles or any other under-served demographic.
Since owning a bicycle business involves the sale of a durable item that rarely needs replacement it is crucial to supplement your business by also selling bike accessories and offering bicycle repair services as well. Some bike shops also make a steady profit, by focusing on the sale of refurbished bicycles. Oftentimes bicycles can be purchased very inexpensively, and re-sold after being refurbished by experienced hands.
To keep your initial costs low, you may want to start selling refurbished bicycles, and as you build up a clientele – then venture into investing in a large inventory of new bicycles.
Starting a Bicycle Shop business can be fun, exciting and very rewarding. If you are considering starting your own Bicycle Shop business, be sure to read the following advice so that you can shorten your learning curve, minimize your risk, and start generating income quickly.
Read the full story on CareerAmplified.com to learn how to start your own Bicycle Shop business in 10 easy steps.
- Inspiring Bicycle Story (sleepbysunrise.wordpress.com)
- Video: Unicycling Down A Mountain In Liechtenstein (gadling.com)
- The bicycle, the new “old” way to travel (greenreview.blogspot.com)